EDITOR'S COMMENTS From Antique Radio Classified for May 2007
(Copyright 1996-2007 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)
Looking over the editorial pages this month, I realize how many of our contributors either own or have access to rare and unusual sets. When they share these treasures with us through their articles in A.R.C., we all become even more aware of the depth of antique radio history. We are grateful for their generosity and for their contribution to our avocation -- the preservation of antique radios.
An excellent example is the report by Dave Crocker about the Alan Douglas Museum in Pocasset, Massachusetts. Though most of us associate Alan with his widely read books, Radios of the 1920's, many may be unaware of the range of his eclectic collection. Dave has visited Alan's museum many times, but he still conveys a sense of awe when he describes the contents of Alan's house and barn.
Rare and unusual radios abound here, but beyond that, Alan's interests extend to communication receivers, mechanical musical instruments, including a pipe organ, early gas engines, and, of course, a vast library. All are meticulously restored and preserved. It's a pleasure to take this tour through Alan's museum, which most would agree is a vintage collector's wonderland.
Two other articles this month also touch upon the unusual. John Eckland writes about a Remler 88 from 1935, which he had faithfully restored. The set is an example of his larger subject -- early efforts by many manufacturers to improve the fidelity of audio and radio equipment.
The Model 88 was Remler's attempt to achieve the best sound in a small cabinet, while most such efforts by other companies, according to John, were made with larger consoles. The Remler speaker system is an example of the early use of speaker types and combinations that became common only years later.
In the second article, a radio with a somewhat misleading name, "The El Personal Cordless," is described by Jerry Wieland. This set looks like a typical, plastic, tabletop radio. However, it turns out to be a true portable in its use of transistors and enclosed batteries in a table radio, which certainly put it in the "unusual" category. The identifying mark "TOPP Model RT-6" is also a mystery that Jerry would like help in solving.
There is no mystery about the success of the November 2006 VRPS convention in Mesquite, Texas, reported by George Potter. This event is one of the largest in the U. S. and contains all the usual elements of multiday meets: auctions, seminars, contest, flea market, and banquet.
VRPS differs from other meets in that the auctions precede the flea market. In fact, the flea market occurs only at the end, as a Sunday morning event, and the leftovers from the auctions show up there. I have attended the VRPS convention in the past and appreciated this arrangement because it means that everyone has a chance at choice items since they come up at the auctions. It also means that you don't have to get up predawn to compete in the dark of the flea market with a flashlight!
VRPS features multiple auctions -- three main and two silent. The grand total was over $40,000. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Audion tube, the old equipment contest featured "Anything DeForest" resulting in some outstanding displays. This is an event well worth making the center of a plan for a fall vacation.
Jim Moneghan's review of Alfred Balk's The Rise of Radio -- from Marconi through the Golden Age makes it clear that this is a book to enrich your library. The book's focus is the evolution of broadcasting, but as Jim says, there is so much more, including the history of the industry. Furthermore, Balk's writing style makes for pleasurable reading. We appreciate Jim's insightful comments.
Radio Miscellanea offers a variety of welcome letters. The discussion about editorial choices is a reminder of the old cliche, "You can't please all of the people all of the time." We strive for variety so that, at the very least, we please all of you some of the time. Of course, we welcome letters of appreciation, as well as those with additional information. Please keep your comments coming.
A.R.C. Benefits. Be sure to take advantage of A.R.C. benefits: a toll-free number (866) 371-0512; Discover, MasterCard, American Express, Visa accepted; the Web, www.antiqueradio.com; books shipped free in the U. S. by USPS media mail; and for current subscribers, a 10 percent discount on all book orders.
Coming Radio Events. Despite the wild weather of early spring in many areas of the country, including here in New England, we look forward to emerging from workshops and getting into outdoor radio activities. The list for May includes 24 meetings, 9 meets, and 7 auctions. That's a strong intro to the real summer months, so it's time for us all to get out there and enjoy the good times.
John V. Terrey, Editor
ON THE COVER
The handsome set on our cover is a Crosley Gemchest in Mandarin red with bronze gold hinges and fittings from the Alan Douglas Museum. Alan also owns a Nanking green set with rose gold hinges and fittings. We referred to Volume 1 of his Radio Manufacturers of the 1920's to learn that the set was adapted from the Chinese Chippendale style and sold for $94 in 1929.